Bob Hoag, What Are You Wearing?
Photo by Susan Jordan Anderson
He also loves vintage fashion. And he likes to talk (and talk and talk) about it. Read on (and on and on) about what Mr. Hoag is wearing.
What are you wearing right now?
I'm wearing a 1940s short-sleeved gabardine striped sport shirt, and Korean War-era gabardine Marine dress slacks (which I own about twelve pair of, so odds are pretty good I'm wearing those on any given day that I'm not wearing a suit, actually). And reproduction Colchester Rubber Company hi-top sneakers. They're supposed to be the world's first basketball shoe from the 1800s or something but they look super 1930s or 40s to me. I know, they should be real vintage, but I can't afford vintage sneakers (plus, the rubber on them is always bad).
What is the last item of clothing you bought?
I bought five or six vintage 50s cotton/rayon shirts at the mighty Iguana Vintage Clothing in Hollywood. Nothing fancy. In fact, my goal was to not buy anything that required dry cleaning. I have two kids, and one is five months old, so I'm not wearing a lot of dry cleaning-necessary clothing right now.
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What is the item of clothing you most covet at the moment?
I'm really enjoying a 50s rayon bathing suit. I put it on as soon as I get home because it really breathes. It's white with a giant anchor on it. My wife calls them the "gay interest" trunks because when I bought them on eBay a few years ago, the description was "1950s RAYON SWIM TRUNKS GAY INTEREST." I don't totally get the gay interest angle. Is it the anchor? Is that, like, a thing? I guess they are really short, but that really depends on how tall you are, right? And anyway, so what if they are a bit short? I would suggest that both men and women should appreciate the additional skin on display. I mean, if someone other than me were wearing it.
Give us a childhood memory of you and clothes:
I was really into those shops you go into where you pick the iron-on transfer out of a book (or like a rack on the wall, like the posters at Spencer's) and then they put it on whatever shirt you want. I had a lot of the sparkly Star Wars ones.
And I wore a lot of costumes, especially over the summer, when I had time to cook them up.
One summer, I spent a few days pausing my Ghostbusters videotape and trying to make as close of a replica as I could to a Ghostbuster suit and a proton pack (which I fashioned out of cardboard and then painted). We're talking 1985, probably. So I was twelve. Anyway, I also made the ghost traps and the whole thing. Then I went to my local grocery store (The Food Gallery, in Mt. Lebanon, PA) and basically ran through their store, trashing displays and trying to "trap" ghosts. I tried to explain, as I was kicked out of the store, that most of the damage had been caused by ghosts, not me . . . and if they'd just let me really try to trap the ghosts, they wouldn't have any more problems with cereal boxes ending up all over the aisles. I failed to convince them.
Name five items every man should have in his closet:
Hmmmm. This is tough because I'm kind of a weirdo, and what works for me will sound insane to most folks. So maybe here are the five things I could not live without in my closet:
- A suit (and we'll just include all of the suit amenities like appropriate dress shirt, tie, shoes and belt because otherwise I'm never going to get it down to five).
- My coveted Korean War-era gabardine Marine dress slacks. I own so many pairs because they're pretty cheap and easy to come by, so they're sort of my all-purpose pant that I don't have to worry about staining or damaging in the course of a normal day, as they're pretty pretty easily replaceable.
- A short-sleeved sport shirt with some kind of design on the chest. I would also need one was that messed up, with stains, holes, etc., for me to do yardwork in.
- A long-sleeved 40s shirt made by Stradivari. They are the best vintage shirts I've ever owned, and I have four or five of them. They all have slanty pockets and are incredibly well-made. They also all have different names (their gabardine is called the Strad-O-Gab, then they have their typical 50s sort of nubby cotton one that's called the Strad-O-Nub, then there's the Strad-O-Tropic, which is sort of a lightweight twill, and the Strad-O-Flan, which is a heavy flannel shirt). I pretty much buy them any time I find them. I also wear them a lot with suits.
- Fedora hats that are from the 50s or older. Hat manufacturing sort of started to go to hell from the 60s onward, but a hat from the 30s/40s/50s will last forever. If you wear them slanty on your head (like Spencer Tracy), people will know you're a real character who conservatively thumbs his nose at the establishment. (Admittedly, this effect would be greatly intensified if you lived in the 1940s.)
Name an item of clothing that's best when it's vintage:
There is nothing that's not better when it's vintage. But, as mentioned, I'm a weirdo. I'm wearing boxer shorts that are 70 years old. I feel like today's clothes all look the same -- the same cuts, the same colors, the same designs. I guess it was that way back in the day, too, but I guess something about those colors, fits, and designs really does something for me. A general rule in my life is: If I need to buy something, can I find a vintage version of it, whatever it might be? (Applies to everything, not just clothing, which is why we just got a 13-year-old cat, apparently.)
Name an item of clothing you should NEVER buy used:
I know the answer here is supposed to be underwear and stuff. All of my vintage socks and boxers and undershirts were New Old Stock, and I was the first one to wear em. So i guess that. But maybe shoes too. Yes, I wear vintage shoes, but come on, they're vintage, not used. Whatever icky foot germs may have lived in my 40s Florsheims are long dead by now. But used shoes? Well, those microbes and stuff are still partying. No thanks.
What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix?
You don't want to wear sock garters for more than a few hours at a time. Sometimes, you'll have em on all day, then you get home, and you realize they're really cutting off the circulation in your legs, and then you also realize that they might eventually contribute to getting crazy and scary varicose veins when you're fifty. That's why I just don't wear them anymore, no matter how cool they look.
You know, actually, I may not be the best person to be giving fashion advice. I'm wearing wool trousers in July, man.
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